Bishop Hill writes:
As if there weren’t enough problems with climate data already, the latest bright idea from CAGW subscribers is to use opinion polls to measure climate change. I kid you not…
The journal Biology Letters this week reports a novel yet kind of obvious way to tackle the data dearth; simply asking Himalayan villagers about their experiences.
To be fair, the phrase “simply asking” does the researchers a disservice, because what they emphasise throughout their paper is the need to gather local knowledge “rapidly and efficiently… using systematic tools”.
It has to be structured, internally consistent and rigorous; that’s the message.
We know that some scientists are happy to treat climate model output as data. Now it seems that people’s opinions are to be counted as climatic data too.
It’s a funny old science, innit?
The story from the BBC by the always discerning Richard Black is here.
Here’s a gem:
For example, in some villages about half of the people questioned reported that summer was now starting earlier than 10 years ago; which raises the question of why the other half did not.
In villages where life is based almost totally on farming, you might expect a more consistent view.
In one sense, that is like putting two thermometers in the same place and finding that one registered a temperature rise while the other did not.
I can’t wait to see the uncertainty values with this one. Apparently Richard Black had no idea that he just described what station siting and UHI effects are all about. Of course when you deny those effects, it is easy to forget them in context.
BTW lest somebody thinks that “Sherpas” only refers to Mt. Everest mountain guides, see this.